Changes at the top
Drew Brees, Walt Garrison and Ricky Williams highlighted the 2012 class of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.
NOW AVAILABLE, you can download the inaugural DCTF Recruiting Special Edition, available on your iPad, iPhone, Android and Kindle Fire through the DCTF App. With rankings, insights and analysis into the 2013 recruiting scene in Texas, it's a must-read for all true football fans! Download the app today!
And don't forget to get your copy of the 2013 Winter Edition of Dave Campbell's Texas Football, available in hard copy through the TexasFootball.com Store or digitally through the DCTF App. It features recaps for every college team in the state, a complete high school recap and more — including a captivating look at Johnny Manziel's unforgettable Heisman season! Get your copy today!
Each year, it seems like sportswriters across Texas are writing the same stories that they did the year prior, all pertaining to the same topic: high school football coaching changes.
Eventually, we’ll get the hang of it and see this stuff coming, but for now, we’re stuck in a vicious circle: being blindsided by a handful of huge coaching changes across Texas, then forgetting that it happened until the next year, when we’ll be blindsided again.
We’re merely months into the long slog that is the football offseason, and already, we’ve been blindsided again.
You can see a complete list of the coaching changes across Texas on our Coaching Changes page, and the savvy high school football fan will immediately spot a couple of jobs that should catch their eye. Sure, the Odessa Permian job and the Buda Hays gig are big-name programs, but there are some even more surprising coaching changes going on.
Get this: there are already six programs that made the state quarterfinals or better last year that will have a new coach in 2013.
How’s your mind? Blown?
That’s right: six teams that played football games in December will have a different face on the sideline. Just in case you can’t spot them, here are the programs in transition:
Might as well start with perhaps the heaviest hitter, huh? Mike Jinks built Cibolo Steele into a San Antonio powerhouse, guiding the Knights to the 2010 5A DII state title, the 2011 5A DII state title game and the 2012 5A DII state semifinals. Now, Jinks has been plucked by Kliff Kingsbury to coach running backs at Texas Tech, and for the first time in the young program’s history, someone other than Jinks will be in charge. That man: Scott Lehnhoff, the Knights’ offensive coordinator, who was promoted to take the job.
Out east, one of the rising 3A powers is making a coaching change…and it’s a bit of a surprise. Dickey Meeks is a 200-game winner, and a two-time state champion, guiding Tyler Chapel Hill to the 4A title in 1989 and getting Henderson a 3A DI title in 2010. He seemed to be cruising toward a long tenure at Henderson, where he arrived in 2006…until the Pittsburg job came open, with Robert Manley stepping down for family reasons. Now, Meeks is off to Pittsburg, and Henderson made a splash of its own last night, as ETSN.fm reported that Corsicana’s Phil Castles will be Henderson’s new coach. Castles has been at Corsicana for four years, guiding Corsicana to the 4A DII state semifinals just last season.
The headlines out of New Boston over the past few seasons have revolved around their outstanding running backs, Shakeem Jefferson in 2010-2011 and Damien Haskins in 2011-2012. But the man behind the Lions’ success over the last decade has been Rick Barker, who has guided the Lions to 68 wins in their last 88 games, including a berth in the 2A Division I quarterfinals in 2012. But Barker is off to take a job in Arkansas after a 31-year career in Texas (he also coached at Pleasant Grove), and now the Lions’ head gig is open.
Down in Class 2A Division II, there weren’t many stories bigger than Colorado City, as the Wolves put together a 10-win season and marched to the state quarterfinals for the second time in eight years. The man behind that success has been Frank Johnson, the Wolves’ head coach for the past 11 years, getting them to the playoffs nine times and accumulating an 82-42 record. But when the job at Holliday came open – Cody Patton is out after just one year – Johnson seized the opportunity, becoming Holliday’s first coach hired from outside since 1974.
Here’s a trivia question for around your water cooler (and unless you work at Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, it will likely impress some folks that you know it): who is the only team that played in a state title game in 2012 that has made a coaching change so far? Answer: Corsicana Mildred, who marched to the 2A DII title game last year thanks in large part to coach Patrick Harvell. Now, Harvell has resigned -- he wants to move back toward the academic side, becoming the assistant principal at Mexia Junior High – and the Eagles will be lead in 2013 by defensive coordinator Billy Dan Chambliess, who already meets my “three names means an awesome coach” criterion.
The 2012 season was awful good to the Elysian Fields Yellow Jackets. An 11-4 record and a berth in the state semifinals, and it was largely thanks to Eric King, the Yellow Jackets’ head coach. But King is on his way out, resigning after a lengthy contract dispute with the school district. When you read what King has to say to ETSN.fm, it doesn’t sound like he’s happy with the way he’s leaving.
Greg Tepper is the associate editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football and TexasFootball.com.